Friday, May 29, 2009

Heaven on Earth

On the beautiful garden island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian Islands, I thought to myself, how can one not see the "hand of God," in the natural, untamed beauty of the island. My cousin who lives in Kauai, had told me and my cousin Esther who visited her, that we were coming to paradise. If paradise (heaven for me) looks like Kauai, we're in for a treat. Looking out at Hanalei Bay on a gorgeous day in May, at the lush green mountains, the blue-green ocean water and the coastline, I was thinking that the colors were so perfect, the complexity, diversity and beauty of that place, along with so many other places on that island, could only be created by a divine artist. The divine Creator is indeed very creative and the colors of the palette that God uses are pleasing to the human eye, as they should be. The beauty is too spectacular to be a mere coincidence, with faith and intellect, I see the "hand of God," at work on that island, in a special way, as others do. I felt blessed on the many mornings that I looked out into the Pacific Ocean for the awareness and knowledge that I have of God and the appreciation I can feel for the gift of the beauty of the natural world and the recognition of a loving God who provided a magnificent creation for us to enjoy. I prayed in gratitude to God.  I'm well aware that many theologians do not believe that Heaven is an "actual place", but I disagree with that. For me, (and this is my opinion) Heaven is a "place," beyond our three dimensional world, it exists. I just wonder if perhaps Kauai could be a physical manifestation of what heaven looks like. Now I'm using my religious imagination of course, but what if in one place in the world, God created a physical (in our sense), duplicate of heaven and placed it there, in the Pacific Ocean. That would be pretty amazing.....just my thoughts......
If you ever get a chance, I suggest you visit Kauai and look for the "hand of God," in the beauty that is there. 
One day on the trip, looking out from Waimea Canyon Lookout at an elevation of 3,400 feet, we saw the multi-colored "Pacific Grand Canyon", quite an amazing sight. On the island, there are waterfalls, canyons, Hanalei Bay, the lush mountains, the intriguing and uninhabitable Napali Coast, which is 25 miles of nearly inaccessible coastline, with cathedral cliffs. There are  species of plants and wildlife, that can not be found anywhere else on earth. Mt. Waialeale is the wettest spot on earth and contributes to the island being in a continual state of bloom. It's something to see. I love flowers, so seeing the diversity of the flowering trees and bushes and their uniqueness was a treat, as well as banana and papaya trees. (We ate papayas every morning for breakfast!)
And so more in another blog, I'm tired from the long flight home, but at another time, I want to share about the welcoming parish of St. Catherine's in Kapaa, Kauai, where we attended Sunday Mass. The priests and parishioners know what is means to welcome visitors to their Church, so that was another good experience on the island.